Who says maps are boring? How an artist reinterpreted maps to show sustainability issues in a different manner
The topic of art and science keeps on coming up. Maybe something to do with my moving into a city where art is at the forefront, maybe something to do with the need of passing scientific messages through to people that don’t speak ‘scientist’ (and trust me, I know we are a difficult bunch to understand...). Whatever the reason, it seems to be something recurrent, and I am attending many events that are trying to showcase this.
The last one I attended was called landing(ing) art, organised by the European cultural centre. It showcased discussions from artists and scientists on topics mostly related to today’s challenges, from sustainable fashion to the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, to the use of aquaponics (more on this soon I hope) and the role of art in education. A full-on two hours, in a beautiful old building surrounded by some of the art under discussion.
What striked me the most, and the topic of today’s blog, was the art by Cheryl Goldsleger . She made art inspired by geography, and even better, inspired in a way by this geographical tool called ‘GIS’ (Geographic Information System) that comes as a software commonly used by many scientists, arcGis (and its free cousin, Qgis.). A software that is the bane of many students, and also features in my nightmares (when it takes you an hour to just draw a polygon that you could have done in two minutes by hand.. don’t laugh)... this same software was the inspiration for some interesting art! The artist even admits to attending a course about it (and that’s how she became my new idol!). Her exhibit in question is titled ‘Vast Scale – Intimate Space’ , and it’s available to see until November 24th.
This is how the exhibition is described on her personal website
‘It (the exhibition) will feature three large mixed-media paintings called, “Transient,” “Tenuous” and “Coalescence.” The paintings will be installed over a wallcovering created from a reverse printing of one of Goldsleger’s drawing entitled, “Independent,” which is owned by local collector Martha Anne Tudor. Morris said she hopes this presentation will reinforce how individuals identify within communal spaces.As an artist, Goldsleger said she’s always been interested in the concept of space. “The way a culture organizes their spaces tells a great deal about that society,” Goldsleger said, pointing to the structures built in Ancient Egypt or the famous Temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia as examples. “Different cultures have different needs and do different things to organize their society. If you go to the Natural History Museum in New York, you’ll see bones or vases from different cultures and that tells you something, but it doesn’t really give you a sense of how the people of a culture interacted with one another. But their use of space really paints a picture.”
In a way, i feel that we could draw a lot of parallels between the way in which human organise their space according to their needs and the way nature spaces work, the way organisms self-organise, the way in which species can coexist due to mutualistic interactions, or how predation and fear can drive the need for refuge species, and the ways in which all of these different interactions give rise to a community of species. In a way, we are not that different, and we ourselves, are incorporated into this matrix of interactions. And more, we don't just interact with other species but also have a lot of intraspecific interactions, that are shaping our surroundings. In my opinion the paintings give truly a sense of this interconnectedness, and truly fullfill the role of 'art that makes you think'...
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